You are here

Competing forces and deep water -- December 4, 2009

Years ago I did a fair amount of white water canoeing. One of the biggest dangers on river with heavy rapids is to get caught on a hydraulic, when the force of the flowing river is met with equal force by an opposite wave of water. If the canoe goes over (which it most often does when hitting a hyrdaulic) the instinct is to try and keep your head above water and then work your way out. That is when people get into more trouble, because the force of the water from opposite directions is too much to fight against. This is when people often drown.

The counterintuitive wisdom is to go down -- below the aquatic frenzy; to go down to deeper water where there are currents that can lead one to safety.

I am reminded of this wisdom when Joan Chittister remarks that Benedictine spirituality is not an escape; but is rather a spirituality that fills time with awareness of of the presence of God (page 30).

That sounds like going deeper to me.

For many years my goal in Advent was just to keep my head above water. I used up an awful lot of energy, and I inevitably ended up in the same place where I started. I now see the Advent season as an invitation to the depths-- beneath the frenzy and into the darkness; where there is a promise (and an experience) of a force and light that leads us to hope.

Add new comment

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). The Communications Office of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark reserves the right not to publish comments that are posted anonymously or that we deem do not foster respectful dialogue.